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Westpac appoints veteran to oversee AUSTRAC response

The major bank has appointed the final member of an independent advisory panel formed to oversee its response to financial crime regulator AUSTRAC’s investigation.

In November, Australia’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulator, AUSTRAC, revealed that it was seeking civil penalty orders against Westpac over 23 million alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

According to AUSTRAC, the bank failed to appropriately monitor outgoing international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) and carry out due diligence on customers sending money to the Philippines and south-east Asia in circumstances which it alleged were “consistent with child exploitation typologies”.

The bank has already released its response plan to the allegations and said it “accepts responsibility for the issues that have occurred”, with the bank’s former CEO, Brian Hartzer, stepping down in early December, along with several other executive changes.

As part of the response plan, outgoing Westpac Group chairman Lindsay Maxsted announced that Promontory had been appointed to undertake an External Accountability and Financial Crime Program Review outlined in Westpac’s response plan.

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In addition, Westpac announced it would also establish an accountability review advisory panel of three independent experts to consider Promontory’s report and provide recommendations on governance as well as board accountability.

In December, Westpac announced two of the three independent advisory panel members, appointing Dr Ziggy Switkowski AO and Dr Kerry Schott AO to provide recommendations on board risk governance and board accountability in relation to the AUSTRAC investigation.

Westpac has now appointed Colin Carter AM as the third member of the three-member panel.  

Mr Carter has over 30 years of experience in management consulting, advising on organisational strategy and governance issues, and has previously conducted board reviews for a number of organisations.  

Westpac’s new advisory panel member has been an independent non-executive director at Lendlease since April 2012 and is also a director of the National Golf Club, Australian Ballet Foundation, and president of the Geelong Football Club.

Mr Carter is also one of the founding partners of The Boston Consulting Group in Australia, where he continues to serve as an adviser after retiring as a senior partner in 2001.

The new appointee has previously served as a non-executive director of Wesfarmers Ltd and Seek Ltd and was a former chairman of Jawun and director of Origin Energy, World Vision and the AFL Commission.

Westpac appoints veteran to oversee AUSTRAC response
Westpac
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